GERMANY - BioNTech Nears Coronavirus Vaccine

Arno Froese

Biontech and Pfizer have announced that they are on the brink of emergency-use approval for a coronavirus vaccine. The scientists responsible, Ugur Sahin and Özlem Türeci, are from Germany.

In mid-November BioNTech and its US partner, Pfizer, plan to apply for emergency-use approval in the US. The data released by the pharma companies indicate that the vaccine is 90% effective in creating immunity to the coronavirus. If these results stand, this would put the companies well ahead in the race for a vaccine. 

The European Medicines Agency initiated the approval process for the coronavirus vaccine from BioNTech and Pfizer in early October. The vaccine is currently being tested in a study involving tens of thousands of participants, according to the EMA. In order to speed up the process, interim results are constantly reviewed until there are sufficient findings to make a decision on approval. 

Back in January, when the coronavirus was raging in China and hardly anyone in Germany was seriously worried about a pandemic, BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin and chief medical officer Özlem Türeci, who are married, focused their research on a vaccine against the coronavirus. By spring, they had launched phase 1/2 trials. 

Sahin and Türeci use the human body’s ability to defend itself from bacteria and viruses. They aim to develop an immunotherapy that stimulates the self-healing mechanisms and triggers the body’s own “internal police force” to render malignant tumors harmless.  

Born in Turkey, Sahin was 4 when he and his mother moved to Cologne to join his father, who worked for the Ford company. After graduating from high school, he studied medicine at the University of Cologne. “I was interested in immunotherapy,” said Sahin, who is 54. He added that he is interested in how the immune system works and how it can be trained to identify and attack cancer cells.

A lecturer at the University of Mainz, Türeci is considered a pioneer in cancer immunotherapy. “Influenced by my father, who worked as a doctor, I could not imagine any other profession even when I was a young girl,” Türeci told the online website wissenschaftsjahr.de. “My father’s practice was in the family home. When we were kids we would play among the patients. There was no strict separation between work and life in our home.”

By the time Türeci and Sahin married in 2002, he was already working at the University Medical Center Mainz. Even on their wedding day, Sahin spent some time in the lab—both before the couple went to the registry office and again afterward.

More than 1,300 people from over 60 countries currently work at BioNTech, and more than half of them are women. In October, the German biotech firm debuted on the US’s Nasdaq exchange for technology stocks. The company has grown steadily through acquisitions. 

-www.dw.com/en, 9 November 2020

Arno's commentary

Two Turkish/Muslim immigrants have attained the praise of the scientific medical field worldwide. Doubtless, many others will follow, producing successful research showing how to attack and defeat coronavirus.

What’s most interesting in this article is the multiplicity of nations involved. These two Turkish scientists, now German citizens, are developing coronavirus vaccines for BioNTech, a partner of Pfizer USA. But that’s not all; the article shows that over 1,300 people from some 60 countries are working for the German pharma company BioNTech.

This is another confirmation of the continuous, progressive globalization of planet earth. Nationality is of no issue, nor is religion or culture. Coronavirus is the adhesive that binds the nations of the world. This type of super success will, in the end, turn man against God the Creator: “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?” (Psalm 2:1).

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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